LAST TIME:

"So, the points stand as follows: In the first place, we have Mister Potter with 198 points. In the second place, Miss Delacour with 135 points. Followed by Mr. Krum having 125 points. Last, but not the least, we have Mr. Diggory with forty-eight points."

The crowd cheered again.

"We shall meet again in a few hours after Lunch for the Second round of the task. Till then, let us give the champions a well deserved rest! Thank you."


Ch. 45 Warding and Ward-Breaking

Harry walked back to the castle hand in hand with Susan as they were surrounded by a group of Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors mainly consisting of their friends. The Weasley twins were at the front of the group, clearing up our path while singing a victory song in the tune of a funeral march till Angelina and Alicia slapped them on their heads. Hermione and Ron were also with them.

Ron had joined as soon as the Judges told them that they were free to leave while Viktor had went back to his ship to change and revise for the second round. The trio of friends made their way back to the castle surrounded by well-wishers and Harry's fans.

Fleur gave the same reason as Viktor and went to the Beauxbatons carriage with her headmistress, parents and her little sister to prepare for the next round of the second task. Much to Harry's amusement, Fleur's younger sister Gabrielle was still bouncing in excitement about 'The Great Harry Potter' shaking hands with her.

Harry and Susan parted ways with their friends to go and have a bath and change into proper clothing for Lunch. They had just emerged from the Black lake and were feeling unclean despite the cleaning charms that Harry had done. A nice bath would get rid of that feeling and freshen Harry's mind.

Harry kissed Susan goodbye as she went towards the Hufflepuff dorms while Harry apparated straight to the chamber of secrets where Salazar and Helga were already waiting.

"Congratulations Harry!" Helga cheered as Harry walked into the room. "First place! I am so proud of you my student."

"Did you expect anything less Helga? He has trained under us as our apprentice after all. He was bound to come first. The three champions may be the best in their year but, Harry here is on a completely different level." Salazar remarked.

Harry just smiled in response.

"Go and shower Harry dear. We will talk after you've your lunch and go over your warding scheme for one last time."

Harry nodded and went to have a nice long bath.


At 3 PM, Harry found himself standing on the quidditch pitch with the other champions awaiting the beginning of the next round of the second task. He was dressed in his battle-robes for the task even though they weren't exactly needed. Cedric and Krum were dressed in their school uniforms while Fleur was wearing light-blue colored dueling robes for the event.

A light breeze was blowing through the quidditch field as the chatter of the gathered crowd sounded through the air.

In front of the champions, four structures had been constructed which looked like a one-room house. At one side of the pitch, four work tables were arranged with a Rune-carving kit and three chests on each one of them. A little distance away from where the champions were standing, the judges table was also placed where Dumbledore, Sirius and Madame Maxime were conversing about something with two people Harry didn't recognize. Karkaroff on the other hand was already sitting at his spot already, thinking about Merlin-knows-what.

In the stands, students of the three schools were ready to support their favorite champion and cheer for them. There were also a few reporters present who were allotted a special row in the stands with the teachers of Hogwarts. To Harry's great irritation, his eyes also fell on Snape who was shouting at some younger students about something which Harry couldn't hear above the chatter of the crowd.

"Dear audience and Champions! Welcome, to the Second round of the second task of the Triwizard Tournament!" Bagman's voice boomed above the chatter of the crowd and the crowd immediately cheered.

"The points for the champions currently stand as follows: In the first place, we have Mister Potter with 198 points! In the second place, Miss Delacour with 135 points! Followed by Mr. Krum having 125 points! Last, but not the least, we have Mr. Diggory with forty-eight points! Give a huge round of applause for the champions dear audience!"

The crowd applauded so loudly that the applause may have been heard by the citizens of Hogsmeade too. Several people had rose to their feet and clapped for the champions.

"Yes, Yes. We all are excited. But, before we begin, let me explain what the task entails. The champions will have to retrieve a treasure by breaking through wards that we and the rest of their fellow champions choose to put up. First, the task will begin with each of the champions warding three chests as they wish. These three chests are meant to be warded in the exact same way and one chest will go to each of the other three champions to break through. They have 45 minutes for this part of the task. After those forty-five minutes are up, the warded boxes will be placed in the rooms which have been constructed as you can see." Bagman said gesturing to the four constructed structures.

"These rooms have been warded by one of the best warding teams in Britain. The champions will have to break through these wards and go into the room. In the room, there will be four boxes. Three boxes that each of their fellow champions would have respectively warded and the last one from one of the heads of the institutions... meaning from either Headmaster Dumbledore, High-master Karkaroff, Headmistress Maxime or Lord Black. Of course, we will ensure that a champion will not receive the chest warded by his or her head of institute." Bagman declared, repeating the instructions that the champions had been given after the first task.

The audience was also listening to him with rapt attention.

"For doing this, the champions have exactly seventy-five minutes... or perhaps a little more. As said at the end of the first task, the champions will receive a small advantage for the number of keys they successfully collected in the first task. The advantage will be... TIME! For each key collected, a champion would get five minutes more which he or she can utilize to either ward their boxes or to break the wards!" Bagman added.

Harry and Fleur smiled. They would have fifteen minutes more as compared to Diggory and five minutes more than Krum. While the advantage wasn't huge, it was still big enough to make a difference especially during the ward-breaking part of the task. The time limit for the ward-breaking part was a little tight especially for untrained school children. For professional ward-breakers it may be enough but, the champions, despite being the best their schools had to offer, were still not on par with professionals... except for Harry who probably surpassed most of them bar the best in the field.

Harry was confident that he could break through all the wards, both on the room and the boxes within an hour with ease... unless he got a box warded by Dumbledore, given that the wizened headmaster had taken the task seriously enough and warded it to the best of his abilities... which Harry didn't think was a serious possibility as Dumbledore won't make it a near impossible task for the champions... atleast the rest of them.

Cedric on the other hand looked worried... extremely worried.

Harry pitied the poor boy. He was a great guy and a good wizard. One of the best that Hogwarts had to offer. But, unfortunately he was out of the league that the rest three of them were in... Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour were the best students in their years. Fleur was an international duelist whilst Krum had the knowledge of the so called dark arts on his side which he had been taught in Durmstrang... which Cedric lacked. And, Harry Potter was Harry Potter... He was the best amongst the four of them and currently the favorite to win the competition, despite being three years younger than the rest of the champions.

He knew of magics that most of the adult witches and wizards had never heard of. He had one of the rarest abilities in the world and was being trained by two of the greatest magical people to walk on the face of Earth. He also had the knowledge of the Potter and Black Families behind him. Families who had hoarded knowledge since before the time of Camelot.

"So, Mr. Diggory will have no extra time, because he unfortunately had failed to retrieve any of the keys in the first task." Beside Harry, Cedric winced at the reminder of his failure as Bagman continued speaking. "Mr. Krum on the other hand will have ten minutes more to utilize as he sees fit while Mr. Potter and Miss Delacour have a quarter hour extra!"

The Audience, especially the Gryffindors and the Beauxbatons students cheered wildly for them.

"Now, let me give some details on the scoring part for this round. For breaking the room's wards, a champion will receive 20 points. For breaking the wards on a box, put up by their fellow champion, a champion will receive 15 points each. And by breaking the ward on the box warded by one of the heads of institutes, the champion will receive 35 points. In addition, 10 points will be given to the champion in case a fellow champion fails to break through the wards on the box he or she has warded."

'Okay... the last part was new.' Harry thought. 'I will have to put up a couple of extra wards just in case, to ensure that none of the other three can break through my wards... though I only am getting fifteen minutes to ward a box... Hmmm... Decisions, decisions...'

"So, are you ready audience?" Bagman asked, half yelling, despite the Sonorous charm he had put on himself.

The audience just cheered wildly.

Harry and the other champions hoped that the judges would activate the wards to cut the sounds off from the audience. Harry wondered what level of volume would be reached by the audience during the task if this was the condition before the task even started!

"The task begins in ten minutes where the champions would put up a race against time to create and break through the wards. We judges in the meantime would give the champions final directions before the task begins!"

Dumbledore, Maxime, Sirius and Karkaroff hurried towards where the champions were standing.

"All ready kids?" Sirius asked with a slight grin. The four youngsters just nodded mutely in agreement.

"Alright champions. There aren't many instructions left which we have to give as Mr. Bagman has already announced almost everything. We just needed to add that the wards which you will put up on the box should not be of a lethal variety under any circumstances. After you all have warded the boxes, a team of expert warders and curse-breakers will check what you've put up on your boxes to give us an overview and ensure that nothing lethal is added. Also, each box should be warded in the exact same manner. There should not be any additional or different wards on a particular box. This is to ensure that the competition remains as fair as it can be for everyone" Dumbledore said sternly.

"Now, how would you three like to use your extra time?" Dumbledore asked, looking straight at Harry, Fleur and Krum.

"I will use five minutes extra for warding and rest five minutes to ward breaking." Krum said and Dumbledore noted it down.

"Miss Delacour?"

"All fifteen minutes to ward-breaking." Fleur replied instantly.

"Ten minutes to warding and five to ward-breaking." Harry said when Dumbledore looked at him. Dumbledore nodded and noted it down. Besides him, both Madame Maxime and Karkaroff raised their eyebrows but Harry ignored them.

He was confident that he could break through the wards that the officials, the champions and one of the heads had put up within the time-limit of eighty minutes despite that being a slightly tougher task. He wanted to get the thirty points when the rest three failed to break the wards on his box.

"If you've any questions please ask right now before we begin the task." Dumbledore said and we shook our heads.

"Very well. I will take your leave now. Go to your tables. The chests have the emblems of your respective schools... institutes. So choose those tables which have the boxes with your emblem. I wish you all luck in this task." Saying so, the judges went to the judge's table and sat on their respective seats while the champions went towards the tables and found their own.

Harry saw that his chest had a great-horned Hebridean black holding a sword while roaring to the heavens carved on the top of it. The same emblem that was stitched at the back of his robes. Harry traced the design with his fingers as a smile appeared on his face. The Potter's war symbol. The symbol that showed why the Potter's were to be feared by those who wronged them. The symbol that even Grindelwald was wary of.

"Our champions are ready! At the sound of the whistle, Harry Potter, who has chosen to allot ten minutes extra for warding his boxes, will begin. At the second whistle, which will be sounded after five minutes, Mr. Krum will begin. And finally at the sound of the canon, Miss Delacour and Mr. Diggory will start their work on their boxes. From the moment the canon is fired, our champions would have forty-five minutes to complete the work on their boxes!" Bagman announced and the audience cheered, which was soon cut off abruptly as if the audience had been muted.

Someone had activated a silencing dome over the quidditch pitch.

Harry prepared himself as he arranged his table and tools. He also opened the boxes and saw that there was a coin in each box with the dragon symbol on it.

A minute later, the whistle was blown.

Harry immediately began carving runes on the box to make it unbreakable and increasing its ability to hold the charms and wards he would put up soon. He had nearly finished carving the Runes on his second box when the second whistle was blown and Krum started his work. Harry hurried up, wanting to finish carving and activating the required runes before the canon was sounded.

He had just put up an advanced locking charm on all the three boxes, after the Runes had been activated when the canon went off with a bang. Harry winced at the loud explosion before continuing his work.

The advanced-locking charm was meant to seal the box from the edges instead of making a form of locking mechanism like normal locking charms did. It was to keep the latch free for the main surprise he would be putting on the latch. After that, he started moving his wand in a complicated pattern, weaving in one of the toughest enchantments that he was going to put on the box: The boggart enchantment, also known as the illusional-fear ward.

It would give a similar effect of the boggart when the box was opened except for the fact that a Riddikulus spell won't repel it and neither would any other spell have any effect on it. Any spell, including a killing curse and Fiendfyre would pass straight through the figure which would form, because it would be an illusion... Pure illusion. One just needed to be brave enough to ignore the illusion of their worst fears and continue what they were doing.

Six and a half minutes later, Harry breathed a sigh of relief as he successfully accomplished weaving in the boggart ward on all the three boxes. Now, in case a champion successfully opened the box, they would have to face the ward before they could take the coin in the box... which may be a faint possibility but, a possibility was a possibility nonetheless.

And, Harry wasn't taking any risks. He was going to win this tournament hands down. Harry wanted no one to claim that he won due to sheer luck under any circumstances.

Next, he started putting up the Egyptian Temporary-coma curse ward on the latch of the box before weaving a notice-me-not charm upon the ward. The Egyptian Temporary Coma curse ward was a ward that was found in some of the most guarded tombs of Ancient Egypt. Whoever came into contact with this ward fell into deep, coma like sleep for twenty-four hours. In the tombs, there were various other traps that killed the person unless he/she had a companion with them. Here, there was a time limit. And the notice-me-not charm that Harry had put up on the ward ensured that none bar those adept at the art of Occlumency or having a great sensitivity to magic would notice it. Professional, experienced curse-breakers may, but that was besides the point as none of the champions fell into that category.

They would most likely ignore the ward on the latch and just open it... or try to open it because the moment they would touch the latch, either with bare-skin or anything less than a metal glove, the person would fall into a state of coma for 24 hours... leading them to loosing the task. The ward was even capable of penetrating through dragon-hide if the books were to be believed. Harry had never tried it in person. Neither had Salazar and Helga. They hadn't seen the phenomenon either. The only time Salazar had seen the Egyptian Temporary-coma curse ward in action was when a person had touched the object with bare-hands and fallen into twenty-four hours of coma.

Now, the time for deception to ensure that none of the other three champions realized that there was something fishy with no enchantments on the latch in case they broke through the wards that he laid on the main box.

Harry carved another rune on the latch and put up a burns-curse on it before weaving a Notice-Me charm on that one. It was one of the toughest skills in the art of ward-laying... to put two wards, one upon the other, before weaving two charms with completely opposite effects on them respectively and be successful in the endeavor. Most attempts like these ended up blowing the object itself in most cases... Harry's had too, when he first learned the skill under the founders. Salazar had laughed uproariously till Helga reminded him that he had suffered a similar fate when he had tried the same thing under Rowena's guidance.

Harry touched the latch and checked if the magic had settled properly on them. They had settled and worked perfectly. Thankfully, the ward and the curse won't have any effect on him when he touched the latch because he was the caster. He also confirmed that the wards were perfectly put with his mage sight.

He gave a faint smile at his success before looking at the time. He had eighteen minutes left before he needed to step back from his work station.

Now, was time for laying some standard wards on the box which would serve as added protection and also waste a little time of his fellow champions.

Harry immediately put up an anti-jinx shield followed by a shield ward, a water repulsion ward, An anti-fire ward, an extra elemental ward to protect it from the likes of high-level blasting curses or elemental attacks like lightning. Next, he put a stunner-ward, a hallucination hex, a puking curse, petrification hex and some other wards which were quite standard in nature. If a person had studied ward-breaking properly, they would know how to counter them with ease though. They were commonly used in several places after-all. But, they would still take a little time to break through.

Harry saw the time again. Putting so many wards on the three boxes had taken eleven minutes! He had seven minutes left now... He started hissing nearly inaudibly in Parseltongue. The first boxed glowed a faint green, showing that he had been successful in accomplishing what he wanted. He had just put up a ward which did nothing other than absorb the magic that was being fired on it. It was like a shield-ward of sorts which only broke when saturated with enough magic.

So, one needed to keep firing spells on it till the ward broke... they couldn't counter any other ward on the object till this ward broke.

He did the same with the other two boxes too before putting his final weapon: He weaved a Confoundus charm on the whole ward scheme and the enchantments. Now, due to the confoundus charm, the detection charms that anyone used on the box would come up hay-wired. Normally, such a trick could be neutralized with a simple, powerful Finite Incantatem but, now the person would need to fire several spells to break his Parsel-ward before they could move on to nullifying the Confoundus charm on the wards and then and only then, would they be able to disable the rest of the wards. Till then, they would be running blind.

Harry gave a final glance at the clock and saw that he had less than a minute left. So, he just stepped back and activated his mage sight, re-checking the wards and enchantments. Of course, mage sight wasn't fooled by the Notice-me-not or the Confoundus charms that he had weaved on the wards.

Mage-sight could detect almost any enchantment one laid on a ward-scheme to fool someone. But, Harry seriously doubted that any person other than himself and Albus Dumbledore had that ability in the entire campus. He was ninety-five percent sure that none of the students had it at least. He couldn't comment about the curse-breakers and the hit-wizards who had specially come for the tournament.

"Champions! You have fifteen seconds left! Wrap up your work fast!" Sirius's voice boomed from the judges table.

Harry examined the wards to ensure that each of the box he had warded was in the exact same way. They were perfectly done. He could not spot a single difference in the wards and enchantments.

"TEN SECONDS LEFT! TEN... NINE... EIGHT... SEVEN... SIX... FIVE... FOUR... THREE... TWO... ONE! STOP YOUR WORK AND STEP BACK CHAMPIONS. WANDS DOWN!" Sirius's voice boomed.

The four teenagers stepped back from their work tables. Harry looked around and saw around eight people: five men and three women walking towards the champions as the judges sat back on their chairs, awaiting what the people would do. As the group got closer, Harry saw that they had several instruments with them... Instruments to analyze wards and curses on an object. It didn't take a genius to figure out that they were the warders and curse-breakers who had came for this round of the second task. Harry even recognized one of them as Bill Weasley, Ron's older brother, who went to Krum's table... unfortunately.

A man and a woman approached his table and gestured him to step forward. His fellow champions were asked to do the same by the respective officials who had came to their tables.

The man was a balding, pot-bellied wizard who had a few streaks of black hair left in his now, silver hair. The girl on the other hand was clearly very young and was likely in her late-twenties. She had fine auburn hair which she had tied into a bun and electric-blue eyes. He could clearly see that the girl was excited.

As soon as Harry stepped forward, the guy waved his wand, erecting a privacy-dome around them. He smiled at Harry. "Just to ensure that the other champions don't realize what we discuss here. I am Letus Blane." He said extending his hand, which already had dragon-hide gloves on. Harry shook hands with him, internally praying that the man had enough sense not to touch the latch... or even the box.

"And I am Dorothea Starkey, Mr. Potter. It is a pleasure to meet you. I have heard sooo much about you. I am a—"

"Dorothea, you can fangirl over the boy later. We've a task to do. Better get going lass."

The girl, Dorothea immediately nodded and took out a clipboard and a quill as Mr. Blane started waving his instruments around Harry's box.

The first instrument, which looked like a metal detector, immediately started producing a beeping sound as a blue light indicator started blinking. The man frowned and switched off the instrument before trying again, only to be greeted by the same result again.

He took out another instrument and tried poking the box and frowned.

"Mr. Potter. Can you kindly explain me why my instruments can make no sense of the wards and enchantments that you've put on this box?" Mr. Blake asked.

Harry raised an eyebrow at him. "There can be several reasons Mr. Blane. Like, your instrument could be faulty. Or the ward detection charms could've grown old on it. Or—"

"The instrument is in perfect condition Mr. Potter." Mr. Blane interrupted.

"— It could be my Confoundus charm messing with your instruments." Harry completed, ignoring the man who had interrupted him.

"Confoundus charm? You mean to tell us that you weaved a confoundus charm on your whole ward-scheme, a skill that only the most advanced warders can perform on these boxes?"

"Yes."

"Prospectus! You're a kid. Fully qualified warders take months of practice to do this."

"But I have done it sir. You can check it." Harry said, suppressing a grin. He wondered what would be Letus Blane's reaction if he came to know the work Harry had performed on the latch

"Unfortunately, we've been instructed to avoid doing anything to the box that will affect the champions' work in any way or form." He said with a sigh. "I was actually looking forward to see what all you did to this box, but your confoundus is messing with my detectors. Nevertheless, the fact that you can weave an enchantment on the ward speaks volumes regarding your skill in the art."

"Sir, we still need to confirm whether there is anything lethal and if all boxes are warded in the exact same way." Dorothea reminded the man.

"Call the judges. They will decide what we should do." Dorothea nodded and ran off towards the judges table and soon returned with the four heads of institutes trailing behind her.

Dumbledore gave his standard, grandfatherly smile before asking, "Letus, Dorothea said that there is some problem with this box?"

"Yes Headmaster. Potter has weaved a confoundus charm on the wards he put up. My sensors are unable to detect anything and would be unable to do so till the charm is removed... which we don't have the permission to do. We can't manually perform any detection charms either till we are sure that they won't mess with the wards that Potter has put."

"I will check it with a little trick I have then..." Dumbledore waved his wand and stared at the box. Harry immediately realized that the wand-waving was a ruse because Dumbledore didn't wish for the greater public to know that he had mage-sight... for some reason.

Harry saw Dumbledore's eyes widen for a brief moment before they started twinkling in amusement.

"I must say that this is fine work Mr. Potter... Excellent work. This is the work that I won't even expect from the best of Warders especially considering that you've done the work in technically, less than twenty minutes." Dumbledore complimented before turning to the judges.

"And you all have my word that there is nothing lethal put up and all boxes are warded in the same way." He said and the judges nodded before going back to their chairs.

Harry saw Karkaroff telling Krum something by pointing at Harry and making a X sign with his fingers before, Sirius told him something and Karkaroff hurried away hastily.

Ten minutes later, the boxes from the champions were levitated into the four rooms.

"Now Champions, your boxes have been placed into the rooms by the curse-breakers. Now, as for which rooms you have to go in, Mr. Krum, you've Room Number one. Mr. Diggory, Number two." Dumbledore's voice boomed as he gave instructions and Krum and Cedric took their places in front of their respective rooms. "Mr. Potter, you have room number three while Miss Delacour, you've room number four."

The two of them took their respective places too, about thirty yards away from the room.

"At the first whistle, Miss Delacour will start her work. Ten minutes later, the second whistle will be blown and Mr. Krum and Mr. Potter will begin. At the sound of the canon, Mr. Diggory will begin. From the time the canon is sounded, you all will have seventy-five minutes to break through the wards that you'll face. There are wards on these rooms as we have told you. There are four tables in each room and on each table a box has been placed. Three that your fellow champions have warded and one that has been warded by one of us heads of institutes. Each box has a coin in it which you have to take for yourself after breaking through the wards on the box. Total points will be calculated according to what you retrieve from the room, provided you can break into it." Dumbledore instructed.

"I wish you all luck. Miss Delacour, prepare yourself." He added before sitting down on his seat.

A minute later the whistle was blown and Fleur walked towards the room and started waving her wand in patterns of detection charms. After nearly five minutes, she fired her first spell and began dismantling the wards methodologically.

When three minutes were left for Harry's task to begin, he used his mage sight to look at the wards that were put up on his room. A standard shield charm, An anti-jinx shield, An anti-hex shield, Elemental shields of all kinds, An anti-thief ward, Anti-intrusion ward and a repulsion force-field. Along With them, for some absurd reason the warders had also put up anti-animal ward and an anti pest ward.

There were a few other standard wards too which people usually put on their homes in the wizarding world... the normal wizards and witches atleast. The homes of the Sacred 28 usually had much more dangerous and lethal in variety. He knew for a fact that if someone tried to step in his own home without invitation, no trace of their body would never be found. Here, there was nothing that could permanently harm a person in any way or form. Even if he just walked into the wards without doing anything, he would merely be stunned and be put in a full body-bind before being flung away several meters.

The only problem was that the wards were connected with a ward-stone... making them much more stable and harder to break. He could see the patterns connecting in the wards. The gaps and the small holes they had left in the ward-scheme.

He blinked his eyes and stopped looking with his mage-sight. If used for a long time, that thing still gave him blinding headaches. He closed his eyes, analyzing what to do. He could tear through those wards within seconds with some of the spells he knew. But, that risked damaging the structure itself which was just temporarily built with no reinforcing magic.

He could also do it like Fleur was doing... Methodologically dismantling the wards. But, that will waste his time.

If this had been a real life situation, he would just put on his invisibility cloak and walk through the door, completely unharmed. His cloak was no mere cloak but a deathly hallow after all! But, here he had no wish to reveal that fact neither did he want to cheat in the tournament by using a highly-magical artifact to aid him.

That left him with one option. Finding the Nexus point in the wards, dismantling the charm wards before firing blasting curses and power spells to break through the shield-wards that the warders had put up.

A Nexus point was a point that formed when wards were connected to a ward-stone. Temporary wards and wards that drew magic from the Ley-lines didn't have this feature. It was the point all wards were connected through and were supplied the main power from. It was the greatest weakness in a ward-stone connected ward scheme. Most charm wards, which could be dismantled by a counter-charm, could be easily broken through if one worked on them from the nexus point... extremely easily. The problem was finding the Nexus point itself. Usually it was a tough task for normal wizards as there was no method to find the nexus point bar the mage-sight. Even with mage sight, it was nearly impossible to find the nexus point in a ward scheme because it was just a dot, size of a shirt button.

The point could be anywhere, even at the top of the building.

But, if Harry found it, it would require a lot less time and less power to break through the wards.

'Okay. Plan A is nexus point. If I don't find it by the time the canon is sounded, Plan B is to tear through the wards in three spells instead of a single one... hopefully there won't be any damage to the structure.' Harry thought to himself. He seriously doubted that the structure would even survive contact with a simple Bombarda Maxima, let alone the advanced blasting spells. He had no wish for the whole structure to collapse under any circumstances. The idiots should've carved runes to reinforce the structure but, they hadn't! He was sure that in case the structure collapsed, he would be disqualified.

Seconds later, the whistle was blown and Krum and Harry hurried forward and started their work. Harry reactivated his mage sight and started looking for the nexus point while simultaneously casting detection charms to ensure that he hadn't missed anything. He started circling the room instead of standing in one place like Krum and Fleur were doing. It took him nearly four minutes to find the nexus point which was located at the back of the room, four feet above the ground... thankfully.

Harry immediately started shooting counter-charms for the wards. The first few wards fell faster than a castle of cards. Harry was deactivating the repulsion ward when the canon was blown and Diggory ran forward towards his own room.

Two minutes later, Harry was almost done with the charm-wards when a large booming noise came from his right just before a small shockwave of magic was released.

Harry turned and saw that Fleur Delacour had been successful in breaking through her room's wards and was already on her way in.

Harry turned back to his own work, not rushing with his task. This was a delicate process. Fleur had done it before him because she had ten minutes extra as compared to him.

About three minutes later, Harry stepped back and yelled, "CONFRINGO MAXIMA" A blasting curse left his wand and impacted the Nexus point. He now had to destroy the shield-wards. Thankfully, he just had to ensure that he didn't fire extra spells once the shields broke. There was no reason to worry about damaging the structure if a spell was more powerful than necessary as he was hitting the nexus point in the wards. Any extra power would be dissipated instead of hitting the structure.

"CONFRINGO MAXIMA" He shouted again and his blasting curse impacted the nexus point once again. By now, the shields had weakened considerably. He shot the same spell one more time and was rewarded with a huge boom and a shockwave as the ward fell.

Harry immediately went back to the front of the room and entered inside. The room had nothing special except for four tables which had a box on them and a chair at the center of the room which had a pair of dragon-hide gloves on it. Underneath the chair was a crystal stone the size of a Quaffle... the ward stone that powered the wards that he had just destroyed.

The walls were white washed and there was a clock on one of the walls showing how much time was left. Currently the clock showed that he had 67 minutes left. Harry looked at the chair with his mage-sight and immediately saw that there was a mild stunner-ward around the dragon-hide gloves. Harry smirked and deactivated the ward with a simple counter-charm and picked the gloves.

It was a fine trap but, all the champions were being extra careful especially due to the trap Cedric had fallen into in the first task. Everyone was bound to check the gloves before picking them up... hopefully.

He put the gloves on and started looking at the chests before stopping at the one which had the Triwizard Tournament symbol on it. This was the box that had been warded by one of the Headmasters... or Madame Maxime.

He suddenly felt a compulsion to ignore the box and go to another one. He immediately tightened his occlumency to the fullest and activated mage sight again. He was already feeling the beginning of a migraine setting in due to the excessive use of mage-sight.

What he saw left him gaping. Wards on the box had been weaved with such a beauty that he could hardly discern where one ward connected to the other. He waved his wand and performed a detection charm and came up with nothing. He smirked and shot an over powered Finite Incantetam at the box, immediately deactivating the confoundus charm that had been put up. He tried the detection charm again and felt information fill his senses.

There were several standard and advanced shield-wards on the box, a couple of which he didn't even recognize even by his mage sight. He did another few detection charms and concluded that this was perhaps the most complex ward-scheme he had came across on an object. And, only one man could do this work: Albus Dumbledore. He had weaved compulsion charms, notice-me-not charms and several other types of deceptions.

Harry immediately set to work, dismantling whatever Dumbledore had put up. He had also pulled his Occlumency shields to the fullest to avoid the compulsion charms that he had put up. As Harry deactivated a ward meant to give him a electric shock, a chime sounded, signaling that he had one hour left for the task to end.

Harry continued his work, not caring about the time. He couldn't rush especially through this.

Finally Harry breath a sigh of relief as he deactivated all the wards on the box. He extended his hand to open the latch but, he stopped short. He activated his mage-sight once more to check if there were any wards left on the box. Thankfully, there weren't. He opened the latch and picked the coin inside. On the coin there was a something carved: A.P.W.B.D

The initials of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. That man had a seriously long name. He usually wrote Albus P.W.B Dumbledore but there wasn't enough space on the coin. Harry pocketed the coin and looked at the clock which showed that he had forty-three minutes left. He had taken about twenty-five minutes to break through the wards that Dumbledore had put up... but it was worth the experience and the thirty-five points he would get.

He immediately hurried to the table where Cedric's box was kept and performed a detection charm on it. The boy had put nothing more than basic protections that most trunk-vendors put on cheap safe boxes.

Harry waved his wand and deactivated every single ward within two minutes. He gave a final check to confirm that no wards were left anywhere on the box before opening it and pocketing the coin.

He next went to Krum's table. His box had the Durmstrang crest carved on it. Harry waved his wand on it to see what the boy had put up on his box. The wards on his box, while not lethal were definitely... not good for ones health. A ward to break bones, one which would boil the toucher's blood, one that would cause severe burns, a Greek-nightmare curse, a temporary-blinding curse, a seizures-inducing ward, a scorching ward, a mild-torture curse that would make him feel like his skin was on fire and a few others that weren't pleasant in any way.

But, his shields were standard. And, he had done nothing to reinforce the box beyond a pesky unbreakable charm... which could be removed with a simple Finite. Harry did just that and tore through the box and the wards within a second. The box was reduced to splinters which Harry immediately burned to ashes. He picked up the coin which had fallen on the ground and pocketed it too.

He looked at the time and saw that he had forty minutes left. And a box to dismantle the wards on.

He moved to the last table and saw the Beauxbatons crest on the box. It had been warded by Fleur Delacour. He started performing detection charms on the box before giving a customary glance with his mage-sight at the box. It was good work to say atleast. The box was charmed in several ways. It had more charms than curses and ward-shields. It was good work. She also had done a couple of rune-wards.

It was good work but not anywhere near what Harry and Dumbledore had done. But, certainly better than Krum's and Diggory's.

Harry first destroyed the ward shields with a couple of spells before he started to counter the dozens of charms the girl had put on the box. It took seven minutes and he was done. He opened the box and went to take the coin but his senses tingled a moment before his fingers touched the coin.

He retracted his hand instantly and cast detection charms on the coin. It had a stunning and a petrification jinx on it.

Damn. He would be lying on the floor now if his senses hadn't warned him.

He countered the jinx and picked the coin up before walking out of the room. He came out of the room and raised his hand to the crowd, signaling that he had completed the task.

No one else had came out yet. Harry looked at the mirrors which showed the champions. All of them were working on some box or the other. Harry just sighed and waited.


And... DONE!

I have been extremely busy in the past week and this is expected to continue. I will continue to update as frequently as I can but, I request you all to show patience regarding new updates for a chapter as it takes time to write so much. Putting the idea on paper is also a tough task.

This is my hobby and my studies take priority.

Thank you.

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There is a small dedication in this chapter to my friends: Letus and Dorothea Greengrass... yes, the same author who has written a dozen excellent Haphne fics!

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Stay Happy! Stay safe! Keep smiling! Keep Reading.

HPfanfictioner66